PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and other plaintiffs in
a lawsuit challenging the illegal exclusion of Lolita—an orca captured as a calf in 1970 who has since been held captive and forced to
perform at the Miami Seaquarium—from protection under the Endangered Species
Act (ESA) are appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
following a lower-court dismissal earlier this month. 

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Orcas are members of the dolphin family. They are also the largest
animals held in captivity. In the wild, orcas stay with their mothers
for life.

In It to Win It for Lonely

Without explanation, the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS) excluded Lolita when it classified the southern resident orca population
as endangered, giving it protection from being harmed or harassed under the
ESA. Lolita has been without an orca companion since 1980 and lives in a much too
small tank that doesn’t even meet minimal federal standards.

Both the federal government and the Seaquarium filed motions
to dismiss the suit brought against NMFS for excluding Lolita from the
endangered listing, and the lower-court judge ruled in their favor on technical grounds—despite the fact that all necessary procedures were carefully followed—without reaching
the merits of the case. But Lolita deserves her day in court, and PETA won’t
rest until she’s released into a seaside sanctuary in her home waters.

How You Can Help
Lolita and Other Captive Animals

Please send
a polite e-mail
to Eric C. Schwaab, NMFS assistant administrator for fisheries, urging the
agency to protect Lolita under the ESA. (Plus, of course, never ever buy a ticket to a marine park, an aquarium, or any other captive-animal

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Article source: PETA Files

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